The following constitutional survey appeared in
The British Commonwealth 1956 published by Europa Publications
Limited, London (1956). (For a more detailed tour of the Constitutional
development in Pakistan and to access primary sources, see "Constitution
Avenue" in our Archives).
See the Synopsis of Subjects on the left for other
items on Pakistan from this source.
The State of Pakistan was established on August
14th, 1947, under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act,
1947, as the result of an agreement between the British Government
and the two main Indian political parties, the Indian National Congress
and the All-India Muslim League. By this agreement India was divided
and the predominantly Muslim areas were incorporated into the State
Pakistan consists of two parts. East and West
Pakistan, which are separated by over 1,000 miles. West Pakistan
composed of Sind, West Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and
Baluchistan and other smaller States which ceded to Pakistan at
the time of the partition. East Pakistan includes Sylhet, a district
of the province of Assam in pre-partition India. Karachi is the
capital of Pakistan.
In November 1954 the Government of Pakistan
decided to integrate the existing Provinces and Princely States
in West Pakistan into a single administrative unit, and to make
the country a Federation of two units: West Pakistan and East Pakistan.
This decision was approved by the provincial Governors, Chief Ministers,
Rulers and States December 1954, and the legislation was passed
on December 30th, 1955. Since 1947 Pakistan has enjoyed the status
of an independent Dominion, but in January 1955 the Pakistan Government
declared that Pakistan should be a sovereign independent Republic.
The Government also affirmed Pakistan's decision to continue her
full membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and her acceptance
of the Queen as a symbol of the free association of its members.
In March 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic Republic within the British
Apart from its work in preparing a Constitution
for Pakistan, the Constituent Assembly is also functioning as a
Parliament or Federal Legislative Assembly until such time as the
final Constitution is formulated and adopted.
The head of the State is (since March 1956)
the President (formerly the Governor-General). The Government is
carried on by a Cabinet, which is collectively responsible to the
Constituent Assembly through the Prime Minister. The latter is appointed
by the President, while other ministers are appointed on the advice
of the Prime Minister. The President is presumed to act on the advice
of his ministers. Any Ordinance promulgated by the President is
subject to repeal by the Constituent Assembly.
Both Urdu and Bengali have been declared State languages, but English
will continue as a State language for twenty years.
Until such time as the new Constitution is promulgated,
the Indian Independence Act of 1947, and the Government of India
Act of 1935 as adapted for Pakistan, together form the working Constitution
The task of drawing up the Pakistan Constitution
was begun by the old Constituent Assembly in 1947, Committee Reports
being submitted in 1952 and 1953. A draft constitution was adopted
by the Constituent Assembly on February 29, 1956.
Source: The British Commonwealth 1956
With a Foreword by the Earl of Swinton P.C., G.B.E., C.H., M.C.
Europa Publications Limited, London (1956)
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